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English professor Richard Wheeler named dean of Graduate College

Becky Mabry, News Editor
(217) 244-1072;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Richard Wheeler has accepted the position of dean of the UI Graduate College, as recommended by the chancellor and president.

His appointment will be submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval at the board meeting in May.

Wheeler is a professor of English whose scholarly work has been primarily in Shakespearean studies.  He was the head of the English department for 11 years, and this year is serving as the acting head of the anthropology department.

“I am very much looking forward to working with Richard in the years to come to build and sustain the highest quality graduate programs across campus,” said Richard Herman, the provost of the Urbana campus. 

Wheeler will replace Tony Waldrop, the vice chancellor for research, who has served as interim dean during the search.  The former dean of the graduate college was Richard Alkire, who has returned to teaching and research in chemical engineering.

Wheeler received his Ph.D. and master’s degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his bachelor’s from Cornell College in Iowa.  He came to the UI as an assistant professor of English in 1969.  He became a full professor in 1987 and the head of the department the same year.

He has been on the Incomplete List of Excellent Teachers at UIUC nine times, and has served on a variety of college and campus committees, and he has a lengthy list of books and published articles and reviews to his credit.